ASSISI, Italy (AFP) –
Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team took ownership of the leader’s pink jersey after winning the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday.
The Catalan, a noted climber, finished two seconds ahead of Poland’s Bartsz Huzarski and Italian champion Giovanni Visconti at the end of the 186km ride from Civitavecchia to Assisi, which featured two short climbs in the closing 3,500 metres.
“To win in this manner is spectacular,” said Rodriguez.
“I have to thank my team who worked from the first kilometre for me.
“I have also to thank the team sporting director for his advice on where to attack as if I had attacked earlier I would have been mistaken.
“I am overcome also to have got the pink jersey.”
Winner of the Fleche-Wallonne in April, Rodriguez showed all his explosive climbing abilities, leaving it until late on around the narrow streets of Assisi to reel in Dutchman Tom-Jelle Slagter to ensure his first Giro stage victory.
For the 33-year-old Rodriguez, it is the first time he has worn the leader’s jersey and he is a full 17sec ahead of Hesjedal, with Italian Paolo Tiralongo third at 32sec.
An early five-man breakaway built up a five-minute lead on the main peloton, but Hesjedal and his team reeled them back in 6.5km from the finish.
Italy’s Filippo Pozzato, who fractured his right wrist while causing a crash at the end of the ninth stage, did not start on Tuesday.
Pozzato collided with Australian ace Matt Goss on Monday, bringing both men down and forcing British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish to take evasive action but without apparently injuring himself.
Pozzato, the leader of the Farnese Vini team, later apologised for causing the crash.
Wednesday’s 11th stage sees riders tackle a 255km run from Assisi to Montecatini Terme, in Tuscany, on largely flat terrain with two climbs, the second coming 11km from the finish line.